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Water Heaters: What kind is right for you?

With so many different options for water heaters these days, it is hard to know which is the best option for your needs.  On average, a household spends $400-$600 per year heating water for the home.  Making the right decision could help save a lot of money as well as be more environmentally friendly.

Storage Water Heaters: If one is merely going for cost efficiency on the front end, the storage water heater is by far the cheapest purchase.  However, they don’t have nearly as long of a life as some of the other options at 10-15 years, and often times energy is wasted because heat is lost due to the fact that the water in it is always being heated regardless of it is being used or not.  A possible solution for this problem would be to additionally insulate the tank to make it more effective.

Tankless Water Heater: While these options are more expensive than the storage water heaters, they have a lifespan of 20 or more years.  They keep water constantly hot so as not to have to waste water.  These are great for those looking to conserve their usage of water.  One thing about the tankless option to note is that they are limited in the flow rates, so a household that is using multiple sources of hot water simultaneously might consider having multiple in order to supply enough hot water and to ensure that they maintain an adequate flow as well.

Heat Pump Water Heaters:  Heat pump water heaters are kind of a middle ground.  They have a life expectancy of 10-15 years.  They are much more energy efficient than the storage water heaters, sometimes even two or three times more.  However, they do expel cold air.  This can sometimes cause a problem depending on where the water heater is being stored.  A possible solution would be to store this kind of water heater outdoors or in a garage where it wouldn’t make a difference to the internal climate during the heating months.

Solar Water Heaters: While these are by far the most expensive of the water heater options, they have been found to be up to fifty percent more efficient than the standard gas or electric water heater.  They also have a longer lifespan of 20 or more years.  Something to consider when looking at this purchase is definitely the need for a sunny environment in order to ensure optimal performance.  One looking to install this kind of system may also consider a backup system for days when they will not be able to access solar energy due to the weather.

Tankless Coil and Indirect Water Heaters: Tankless coil and indirect water heaters tend to run about the same price range as a tankless water heater or a heat pump water heater.  They often have very minimal installation costs and will last about 10-11 years.  However, they tend to not always be the best option, especially for those in warmer climates.







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